Ma­jor­ity of Brits now think it was ‘wrong’ to vote for Brexit

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

As the March 2019 Brexit dead­line for leav­ing the EU ap­proaches, more Bri­tish peo­ple are start­ing to think that their vote to leave Europe was a mis­take. Pan­theon Macroe­co­nomics an­a­lyst Sa­muel Tombs sent his clients this bru­tal chart, of a YouGov track­ing poll taken re­peat­edly since the June 2016 ref­er­en­dum. Vot­ers were asked, “In hind­sight, was UK right or wrong to vote to leave the EU?”

The re­sults show that those who still want to leave the EU may now be in the mi­nor­ity:

Tombs ar­gues that vot­ers have be­come less con­cerned about the EU and im­mi­gra­tion since sum­mer 2016 be­cause they are be­com­ing more anx­ious about the econ­omy and their own house­hold ex­penses.

He thinks Theresa May’s gov­ern­ment dare not risk an­ger­ing con­sumers with a “hard Brexit” — the most dam­ag­ing sce­nario, eco­nom­i­cally — and will thus be forced into an ac­com­moda­tive deal giv­ing Bri­tain a long tran­si­tion out of the EU, with many of the Sin­gle Mar­ket ben­e­fits re­main­ing in­tact for years to come:

“Some ar­gue that sup­port for Mrs. May will plunge when the elec­torate re­alises that a tran­si­tion deal will re­quire Bri­tain to make fur­ther large fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions to the EU and to ac­cept free­dom of move­ment rules. But the pub­lic’s at­ti­tudes towards Brexit have changed since last year’s vote. YouGov has asked vot­ers ev­ery month since the ref­er­en­dum whether they think Bri­tain was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU. Last week, 46% said Bri­tain was wrong to leave, ex­ceed­ing the 42% who still sup­ported the leave vote by the largest mar­gin yet. In ad­di­tion, the pro­por­tion of peo­ple say­ing that con­trol­ling im­mi­gra­tion should be the gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­ity has de­clined to just 11%, less than half the level seen at the time of Brexit vote, when it was vot­ers’ top con­cern.”

This is a con­trar­ian view, ob­vi­ously. Prime Min­is­ter May is de­pen­dent on hard­line Brex­i­teers in­side the Con­ser­va­tive party to hold her gov­ern­ment to­gether. And the gov­ern­ment ap­pears to have won no con­ces­sions from Brus­sels in the Ar­ti­cle 50 ne­go­ti­a­tions that would pre­vent hard Brexit.

Tombs is worth lis­ten­ing to, how­ever, be­cause he was the an­a­lyst who cor­rectly pre­dicted — months be­fore it hap­pened — that May would lose par­lia­men­tary seats rather than gain them in the June 2017 gen­eral elec­tion.

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